A Puzzle Box ... 4 years in the making!

When my daughter had just turned 7, she asked for us to build a puzzle box that only she could open. She drew up her projections here:

That was almost 4 years ago. We brainstormed, tweaked designed (and re-designed) a puzzle box together and finally produced this:



Here’s the youtube walkthrough on how to open it

We learned so many new techniques. Almost exclusively built with our glowforge and 3d printer (Zortrax m200).

Lots of fun!

UPDATE:

Thanks everyone for the great advice! I’ve decided to just publish the Fusion plans for anyone who wants. If you use it, please send me a picture.

Maybe I’ll design another that’s easier to manufacture.

Here’s the fusion drawing:


You’ll also need various springs, polarized film, lots of M3 and M4 machine screws. Feel free to contact me if anyone has questions

And I’ve updated the youtube video to show the lens mechanism a bit better …

UPDATE 2:

Here are some notes of materials and tools I used:

Baltic birch veneer, self adhesive
1/8" baltic birch plywood
1/4" MDF
1/8" acrylic
For inner box, 1/4" baltic birch plywood
3D printed parts (I used HIPS, 40% infill)

Fasteners:
Assorted M3 screws (I use hex socket heads)
Some assorted M2 and M4 screws
Many small #3 tapping screws. I used these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GBLNBOI
wood glue, super glue
acrylic glue for plastic to wood bonds
epoxy for holding conical spring to spring plate behind the sun drawer

Bearings:
9.5mm steel bearing ball for marble maze, and behind moon rotating plate
5mm steel bearings to support lid rotating plate
5x13mmx5 bearings (I used these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07X9T9JKM)
For the marble maze’s inner pieces, I used some thin (~2mm?) brass rods. Just a few inches total.

Magnets:
10x3 round neodymium magnets
Some smaller magnets for the moon release. I used 1/4" dia, 1/8" thick neodymium (https://www.kjmagnetics.com/proddetail.asp?prod=D42)

Springs:
I used a number of compression and extension springs from this assortment:


1.25" long ~2lb/in conical spring (I got from mcmaster carr)
I used small rubber bands for the sun puzzle’s posts

TOOLS:

  • Fusion360
  • Shaper Utilities plugin to export to SVG
  • Fusion’s built in STL exporter for 3d prints
  • For when I needed kerf compensation done well, I used the Colorific post processor for fusion (video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54FLff9zlQ0&feature=youtu.be)
  • Also check out Fusion’s new manufacturing model and auto layout for lasers/cncs. I started making use of that too

I’ll add more as I think of it …

83 Likes

This is just beyond fantastic!! I had a game a couple of years back that was similar. This is just great - I’m totally impressed it would never be able to do anything like this myself. A super Duper project to do with your kid!

2 Likes

Holy heckin’ framenschnaps, Batman. That’s flibbertygibbiting fantastic!!! Sorry…my brain is failing me at expletives at the moment, but…WOW!

5 Likes

VERY clever.

2 Likes

Wonderful! Parent of the decade nomination coming your way.

5 Likes

That is crazy coooooool!

2 Likes

Or a large hammer… :shushing_face: j/k Seriously that is really amazing work. A lot of thought and detail went into that!! Nice

4 Likes

Hah! Yes, the large hammer works too

Totally speechless, but thinking I should just pack up my tools and go home.

6 Likes

That is so very cool! I was riveted watching your video - so many intricate steps. So glad you and your daughter figured all this out. Almost sad it is no longer a box only she can open… :cry: but what an excellent accomplishment.

5 Likes

Holy smokes that is incredible!

3 Likes

Great project for you to work on together! I believe it took a year. :sunglasses:

4 Likes

This is flippin’ genius! The video explaining it was great! You should sell it, or the plans on Etsy. It would be HUGE! How you came up with all the ideas used is mind boggling!

3 Likes

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I feel so inadequate…
This is ingenious!

8 Likes

Unbelievable! That is a fantastic project. An engineer in the making! I will now scoot off and continue making my tea lights and coasters!

6 Likes

That is the most amazing thing I’ve seen in a long time! You should design those escape room apps like “the Room.”

And your blueprint is adorable.

6 Likes

That is fantastic!

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Funny you mention “The Room”, that was a major inspiration for the project!

5 Likes

So incredible! Thanks for sharing! Any chance you’d make other puzzle box designs and sell them? that way your daughters box stays special and unique but that we might be able to buy and make one of your incredible designs.

1 Like

Holy Awesomeness! It’s “The DaVinci Code”!
(I had a locking diary, and thought I was doing pretty well.) :smile:

That’s incredible…great job on it!